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Comment Re:Microsoft Never Really Knew What They Were Doin (Score 1) 786

I'd very much like to see what would happen to Microsoft Research in case the mother base plummets. There is some incredibly good stuff in there, of which Kinnect is the most viable of their short term projects - but they have equally good things going on for mid and long term. I wonder where all that IP would go if/when the ship sinks.

Comment Re:It's the email clients, stupid (Score 1) 242

It's the application, stupid

And there you've found the reason why chat apps are popular. The protocol doesn't matter at all, what counts is that they're dead simple to install and use for the intended purpose - chatting.

That whole package is something that email clients, Jabber and SMS don't have (SMS is the closest one, but it's too expensive, the basic version doesn't do multimedia and it doesn't keep track of the conversation).

Comment Re:And it begins (Score 1) 531

that doesn't simply mean that eventually we'll run out of things to do. Now money that was once spent on a noodle cook can be spent on something else.

That assumes that there's something else on which to spend the money, and that those other things will have a value for which people will want to pay; none of those assumptions are givens. The observed effect is that this money will concentrate on a few hands, the only ones with access to most of the produced goods.

Socialist types will never understand or accept this, but the market will reach equilibrium.

Oh, we understand it, we simply don't believe it without the proper amount of support; exceptional claims require exceptional evidence, which that model doesn't have. Right now that argument is an unproven emotional belief, not a scientific certainty.

Comment Re:They should build this into touch-screen device (Score 1) 54

Relative to the thumb, which can be recognized on its own. The other fingers will touch the screen later at some point after the thumb; all fingers have a fixed position and distance from it, so you can identify each finger after calibrating for hand size.

If you add the temporal dimension, you can recognize a variety of chords and multi-touch positions. Sure, it's not perfect tracking of all fingers the all time, but you don't need that to recognize a high number of hand positions, enough to provide a varied gesture-based control.

Comment Re:They should build this into touch-screen device (Score 1) 54

"Forming a fist and then extending a single finger" is not a very good gesture, so that is not a major concern.

A good variety of user interfaces can be developed without exact identification of all fingers in all possible positions. Identifying a finger in a touchscreen can be done if that finger is the thumb, in a natural resting position; then, the other fingers can be from their relative distance.

This in particular allows for chording gestures, the ones used for touch-typing and that could be used for other precision tasks.

Wayne Westerman, who invented the software technology later bough by Apple to become the iPhone, explains in his master theses how it's done (see chapter 4), and how they're used for reliable input (chapter 5).

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